Filed under: Technology
In July, at the Association for Computing Machinery MobiSys conference, research teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Princeton University took home an award for a fuel-saving system in cars that relies on dash-mounted smartphones.MIT says the system saves fuel by monitoring and logging the timing of traffic signals to alert drivers when slowing down could help them avoid idling at lights. By reducing idle times, MIT says the system can save gallons of gas. In tests conducted here in the States, drivers saw a massive 20-percent reduction in fuel consumption. Dubbed SignalGuru, the idle-reducing system relies on countless images captured by the phones’ cameras. SignalGuru is able to analyze these images to predict when traffic lights will change. Somehow, the fuel-saving system works on both fixed-schedule lights and on signals that vary in duration based on traffic flow. The only downside to Signal Guru seems to be that its light-predicting accuracy varies depending on the number of vehicles outfitted with the system, which makes sense. Oh, and, as all good scientists should, the researchers did model the impact of instructing drivers to accelerate to beat the red lights, just to see what would happen. They concluded that running the red light could be disastrous for economy figures, so the system now recommends slowing down. Science wins again! Check out more details of the study in the official press release after the jump.